Feds unveil reform-minded immigration facility

March 14, 2012 1:55:30 AM PDT
A new 608-bed detention facility in Texas that officials say represents the Obama administration's pledge to overhaul America's system for jailing immigration offenders will be opening in about three weeks.

The civil detention center for low-risk detainees is in Karnes City, about 60 miles from San Antonio. Officials gave reporters a tour Tuesday.

Among its amenities are 117 pay phones for detainees and free Internet access.

Three years ago, the White House promised to rethink detention policies following 2007 civil-liberties lawsuits filed on behalf of families held at an immigration facility in central Texas.

The new center was built with more-humane reforms in mind, allowing detainees greater unescorted movement, more recreational options and contact with visitors

But activists wonder whether building a new facility is enough.